Italy captain and defender, Giorgio Chiellini has confirmed that he put a “curse” on Arsenal youngster, Bukayo Saka moments before his decisive penalty miss.
The 19-year-old saw his penalty palmed away by Gianluigi Donnarumma, handing the 2020 Euros title to the Italians after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes in Wembley.
Tension → elation
💚🤍❤️ An unforgettable moment.@azzurri | #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/ea6xED21bn
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) July 12, 2021
Responding to a question from ESPN, the Italian defender responded in Italian: “Hello Christian, I confirm everything! Kiricocho!” and laughed.
¡CONFIRMADO: DIJO’KIRICOCHO’! Chiellini le aseguró a @askomartin que utilizó la famosa maldición identificada con Estudiantes para que Inglaterra erre el último penal. pic.twitter.com/XxR9r8lV95
— ESPN Argentina (@ESPNArgentina) July 12, 2021
What is the Kiricocho curse?
Juan Carlos ‘Kiricocho’, or Quiricocho according to some versions of the story, was a hardcore supporter of Argentinian club Estudiantes de la Plata during the 1980s.
The fan even attended some of the club’s training sessions, but Estudiantes head coach Carlos Bilardo began to notice that his players mysteriously seemed to get injured whenever Kiricocho was present.
Bilardo, as the legend goes, told Kiricocho to attend training sessions of Estudiantes’ rivals, hoping to utilise his powers to help, rather than hurt his side.
“Kiricocho was a kid from La Plata who was always with us, and since that year we were champions [in 1982], we adopted him as our mascot,” Bilardo once remarked.
“He was a good kid but then I didn’t see him again. The last time I was coaching Estudiantes [in 2003-04] I asked after him and nobody knew anything.”
The legend of Kiricocho has since spread throughout the footballing world, with players now routinely using the word when they want to put a curse on their opponents.